Physical Anthropology

An Overview of Prehistoric America



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America was a continent, undivided by political borders containing a great variety of different climates and cultures. In the north there were very harsh climates, reaching subzero temperatures. Into North America were a great variety of forests and deserts. Into Central America there were rain-forests and the Amazon basin. Also in America were great mountain ranges, the Appalachians, Rockies and Andes. After Asians crossed the Bering Strait, they divided into groups settling into different areas of North and South America. Some were primarily desert natives, while others settled in the cold areas. Many were nomads, following herds of buffalo across the plains. The Incas settled into the Andes. Some dwelled in canyons. Within the Native American community divisions occurred often and by the time that Europeans arrived, there were thousands of different tribes.

What they all had in common, however, was a great respect of the nature that surrounded them. From those canyons, forests, deserts, plains, mountains and rivers had grown a strong culture. These Native Americans had been around thousands of years living off the land and working with one another. Nature was the primary giver and taker of this civilization, and they put their faith in it. For those that survived, it never let them down, and so they worshiped it. As time went on, the cultures became more distant and varied. Partnerships and alliances came and went. There were always enemies and conflicts and always plenty of things to fight over. America remained beautiful and clean for as long as the Native Americans were left alone by the imperialistic Europeans of which they knew nothing. This blissful existence would come to an end in 1492.

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